Law, Gender and Sexuality (Aut) (M3017)

15 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

This module examines the role of law in shaping and regulating gender and sexuality. It will explore, among other things:

  • the idea of gender
  • the idea of sexuality
  • their respective constructions in the circumstances of contemporary society (but as derived from their histories).

It will consider broad thematic issues such as:

  • equality (in the context of differences in sex and sexual orientation)
  • privacy and the significance of the public/private divide where issues of gender and sexuality arise
  • the advent of fundamental rights jurisprudence in relation to gender and sexuality.

It will also reflect on substantive areas of law in which distinctions of gender and sexuality appear to have significant consequences. These will include areas of:

  • family law (like marriage and the legal frameworks that govern the conception and rearing of children)
  • employment law (like equal pay, parental leave, and discrimination)
  • the law relating to the (selective) provision of public or commercial services (medical treatment, hotel accommodation, etc.).

In exploring the contours of substantive law as they are informed by gender and sexuality considerations, the module will also explore the continuing relationship between law and society in the construction of gendered and sexualised identities. Although the module will focus on traditional legal sources – cases, statutes and legal treatises on the subject – it will also be informed by developments in the politics of gender and sexuality, and by changes in feminist and queer theory.


100%: Seminar


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 20 hours of contact time and about 130 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: